And now the hard work begins

The first draft of my next novel, Eternally & Evermore, is complete. I polished it off last night – writing an epilogue that actually means the story has two endings of the variety that is popular with readers of romance novels.

I must say, I’m really quite pleased with it – even more so than I was with the first draft of Kissed by a Rose.

This first draft has come in at 83000 words, a bit more than the first draft of KbaR from memory and that finished up at 90000 after I’d revised it and it had been through my editor. So I’d expect E&E to similarly grow. I’m already brimming with ideas of where I’d like to add more detail so it may even to 100000 when it’s done.

And that’s even with my usual ‘trimming of the fat’ that I learned from The Fishtank. Fat trimming (getting rid of all those extra words that just weren’t needed and smoothing the prose out) was actually pretty important when I was writing stories that had strict (and small) word limits. If you think telling a story in 5000 words needs economy of words use, then doing it in 300 needs it even more so. That was one of the habits I picked up in The Tank and it’s a habit I’ve never (and never want to) gotten out of.

Which is an odd statement when I’m writing full length novels and I can take as much time as I want to say what I need to say. But tightly written prose is a lot easier to read, it’s a quicker read and it gets you more involved in the story.

But what I have started to do a lot in E&E that I haven’t done as much in other books is to write ‘cut scenes’ – little fillers between plot points that describe the environment and set the scene. Things like this at the start of chapter 20…

In the woods that surrounded Walminster Hall, a tawny owl perched in a tree, watching and waiting. Watching the ground and waiting for any sign of movement that might indicate a meal. His head swivelled. His big eyes shone in the darkness. Suddenly, he pushed off from the branch, opened his majestic wings and silently glided towards a pile of twigs and dead leaves twenty yards away. He opened his claws as he got near. Thrust his talons into the pile and, with a flap of those powerful wings, took flight once more, a small rodent rapidly losing life clutched beneath it. The owl hooted its pleasure at having found food for its mate and offspring.

Will looked around when he heard the owl. It had startled him. He and Amy had kissed again—even though they both knew that they shouldn’t.

The owl has nothing to do with the plot but it sets the scene before we get back to the characters after the chapter break. There are quite a few of these throughout the first draft. They might go. But I hope they stay. I like them They act as a break and give the reader a chance to catch their breath.

But I’m getting away from myself. For now, I need to put the first draft aside for a while and come back to it fresh so the second draft is something I’m even more pleased with. And hopefully something my publisher will be pleased with too.

Oh and I’d also like to thank all of you who follow this blog whether that be on Myspace, blogger, RSS, Soulcast, Zoo or SOL. It’s hard keeping tabs on the readership figures when they are spread across so many outlets, but my general impression is that the numbers are all going up – as are hits on my website. So many, many thanks to all of you for following my words of…. I was going to say wisdom, but that would be a bare faced lie. Just, thank you. I appreciate it.

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